We’ve just given ourselves a pep talk and gathered the motivation to go out for a run. Shoe laces have been tied up and the iPod is fully charged. So what’s left to do? Stretching of course!
And I don’t mean just bending your leg and pulling your heel towards your backside as far as you can.
For 4 whole seconds. Then switching sides.
And running of into the distance…
Unfortunately, this is what most runners call a warm up.
Do we need to stretch?
We’re told from a young age that we need to stretch before exercising to prevent injury.
If you have muscular imbalances that need corrected then yes, you do need to perform some specific corrective stretches. Otherwise, your tight overactive muscles will not elongate to their original length anytime soon.
A series of corrective stretches particularly before bedtime and before exercise is always beneficial.
But the truth is, most people’s stretching routine is halfhearted.
If they stretch at all.
After you have performed your corrective stretches then movement preparation is the most effective way to go.
These are a series of exercises that prepare the body for movement, increases heart rate, gets the blood flow pumping and elevates your core temperature.
It takes a few minutes to go through and is the same as taking a few minutes to warm up your car when it’s been sitting outside in the cold all night.
You will feel a massive improvement in mobility, flexibility, stability and even speed!
Switching on muscles
Most of us have at least one muscle group that is neurologically switched off. That means it’s not working as well as it should be. When this is the case it leads to other muscle groups overcompensating and ultimately ends up in injury.
For a example, if the outer hip muscles AKA Gluteus Medius is not activating properly, then lower back pain, knee problems and groin strains can occur.
We all sit on our butt muscles or ‘glutes’ for most of the day. This causes them to lengthen and become lazy. It also tightens the opposing hip flexor muscles at the front of the hip.
The problem is that most runners rarely engage their glutes before they spend hours pounding the pavement.
We need to wake up the butt muscles from their ‘gluteal amnesia’ as top strength coach, Mark Verstegen, calls it.
They the biggest muscles in the body (that doesn’t just apply to Kim Kardashian either!) and we need to take advantage of their tremendous power so running becomes effortless.
Movement Preparation will get the glutes firing on all cylinders!
Ok, so what do we do?
Simply follow the video of me below and perform 5-10 repetitions of each movement preparation exercise. It might even feel like a workout in itself but you’ll get used to it.
Admittedly, this video was shot in Chiang Mai in Thailand and the 80% humidity certainly warmed me up too!
Movement preparation is far superior than the good ol’ fashioned 4-second thigh stretch.
The Order Of Play
- Hip Rolls
- Scorpion Kicks
- Calf Swings
- Inverted Hamstring
- Lateral Lunge
- Lunge Into Forearm To Instep
- Backward Lunge With Twist
- Drop Lunge
- Sumo Squat To Stand.
Check out our Half Marathon online training programme here.
It’s designed for the Bermuda Half Marathon in mind with all the specific routes on the island but the conditioning programme, articles and running plan can be used by anyone wanting to run their best Half Marathon.
It doesn’t just stop at stretching so find out more at www.BermudaMay24.com